Day 3: ‘Bird Seed
There was no better sight (at least in my unofficial opinion) at Cardinals camp today than the one that unfolded around Adam Wainwright. Think back 365 days to the news you read, news about Wainwright cutting a BP session short because of some arm discomfort. A few check-ups later and Wainwright was done for the season.
Exactly one year later, Wainwright was at the same Jupiter, Fla., complex, though throwing off a different mound. Still, the ease with which he threw was impressive. So, too, was all that surrounded him.
Bullpen sessions are typically done in groups of three or four. Wainwright was scheduled to throw alongside Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal today. However, Wainwright got on the mound as the previous group of three was wrapping up. And when those three had, Wainwright was left alone. Miller and Rosenthal just stood back and watched, letting Wainwright have his moment. It wasn’t until after Wainwright had finished that the two Minor Leaguers took their turn.
It seemed, too, that just about everyone was on hand to watch Wainwright. Red Schoendienst sat on his golf cart the entire time. Skip Schumaker, Matt Holliday and Chris Carpenter were among the players who took a seat and played spectator. Front office folks and media and coaches were everywhere. And when Wainwright finished the session, he gave 23-year-old catcher Cody Stanley a hug.
All of it was a sight to enjoy.
In other news and notes from camp…
- Holliday, David Freese, Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay were among the position players who took the field on Tuesday. They all took batting practice, and Holliday and Freese had quite the media obligations to attend to after workouts. Freese better be prepared for the media crush to continue for quite some time. Such is the trade off for being the World Series darling.
- In addition to Wainwright, another 12 pitchers threw bullpen sessions. That list includes: Carpenter, Tyrell Jenkins, Joe Kelly, Jake Westbrook, Kyle McClellan, Fernando Salas, Miller, Rosenthal, Jaime Garcia, Brandon Dickson, Sam Freeman, John Gast.
- Two pitchers initially slated to throw on Tuesday — Lance Lynn and Jordan Swagerty – both sat out for precautionary reasons. Lynn felt some left hamstring tightness during conditioning on Monday, and the staff told him to wait an extra day before throwing. Swagerty felt discomfort in his right arm. Manager Mike Matheny described both ailments as minor.
- The catcher-pitcher pairs for these bullpen sessions today differed from Day 1. Yadier Molina, for instance, caught Carpenter and Wainwright on Sunday. Today, he caught Jenkins. This is all by design. Matheny wants all the catchers to get comfortable with all the pitchers so that there are no rhythm issues once games start.
- Third base and infield coach Jose Oquendo spent some extended time working with young infielders Kolten Wong, Pete Kozma and Ryan Jackson on a side field this morning. The focus of the session was making feeds to second to begin a double play.
- There were a couple of notable faces spotted at camp today. Former Major Leaguer Dennis Eckersley showed up, though the purpose of his visit was just to say hello to some people. He was not involved in any instruction. Former Cardinals president Mark Lamping, who was recently named president of the Jacksonville Jaguars, also stopped by.
- Another noteworthy observer was Melvin Roman, who just so happens to be the agent for Molina, who is in the final year of his contract. Molina talked at length on Sunday about his willingness to re-open contract discussions if the Cardinals are interested.
- Matheny’s background is obvious during these workouts, as he really makes it a point to interact with the organization’s young catchers. He’s quite familiar with many in this group, too, after having worked with them in the past.
- Matheny’s quote of the day on today’s schedule read as follows: “If you are not willing to out work and out think everyone on the field, you might want to find another job.”
- Infielder Alex Cora, who signed a Minor League deal earlier this month, was also at the complex today. Cora said that he is prepared to step in as needed at any of the four infield spots — yes, he even brought a first baseman’s glove, though he joked that when he plays first base, it basically means he is placed out there to stand. Cora will have to show that versatility in order to make a spot for himself on the team. In talking with Cora, the 36-year-old veteran seemed quite confident that he’d carve out a roster spot for himself, even though he started just four games after the All-Star break last season.
- Asked if the Cardinals will be extra cautious with Freese this spring because of the third baseman’s injury history, Matheny did a nice job dancing around a direct answer. It does sound, though, that the Cardinals could rein Freese in just a hair, as they don’t mind being overly cautious. I wouldn’t expect the limitations, though, to be all that noticeable.
- Two more days until position players are required to report. Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal are among those who I have yet to see in the clubhouse.
- Let me also direct you to a few links on cardinals.com. Here you can read about Tony La Russa’s arrival in Tigers camp. Also, MLB.com columnist Richard Justice stopped by Cardinals camp yesterday and then penned this piece about the outlook of the franchise. And in case you missed it on Monday, here is a look into Shelby Miller’s maturation process.
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